Josh Gottheimer and the split within the Democratic Party

The Story:

Josh Gottheimer (D) represents New Jersey’s 5th Congressional district, which runs along the New Jersey/New York border. He has taken positions that offends members of the party’s “progressive wing,” especially in his opposition to the President’s Build Back Better bill. This has raised the question whether there will be a progressive challenger to his nomination for another term next year.


Gottheimer has an impeccably Democratic resume. He served as a speechwriter for President Clinton, and later as a campaign adviser for Senator Hillary Clinton’s Presidential run.

He will be running next year for his fourth term in the House. He did face a challenger from his left in the primary in 2020: he defeated her, Arati Kreibich, by a roughly two-to-one margin.

Lately, though, he has stoked progressive anger by public criticism of the “Build Back Better” bill and the Biden/Pelosi strategy of yoking it tightly to a less expensive bipartisan bill for more traditional infrastructure expenditures. The bipartisan bill contains money for some projects that would be of immediate benefit to many of Gottheimer’s bridge-and-tunnel constituents.

The Thing to Know: 

At this point, though, the question of whether a credible challenger will emerge to Gottheimer from his left comes down to a question of campaign cash. A challenger will need a lot of it to buy broadcast time in the nation’s most expensive media market.

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